How to move as safely as possible during the COVID-19 pandemicReturn to Blog
When COVID-19 first hit, all plans inevitably were put on hold. As experts announced that it was safest to stay still, stay home. But months later, we’ve had to figure out how to move forward — safely. For some, that means physically moving.
Maybe you’re chasing new dreams, making new commitments, or purchasing a new place while interest rates are low — or your lease is up. Maybe living with your parents won’t be as bad as you thought — or you don’t have a choice. Whatever the reason, the good news is that relocating can be done relatively safely during the pandemic. According to the Los Angeles Times, Here are some recommendations from local moving professionals.
Start planning early
Even before the pandemic, it could take weeks to plan a move. But disruptions caused by COVID-19 have made certain aspects of moving unpredictably.
Supplies might not be in stock, or storage facilities may have limited business hours. If you’d like to hire a specific moving company or coordinator, they might get booked. If you’re moving out-of-state or out of the country, you should double-check the cancellation and rescheduling policies of airlines and hotels before booking. If you’re in an area with higher coronavirus transmission, planning allows you to make purchases online without having to worry about getting what you need on time. It also helps limit the number of trips to the store you need to take.
According to Liz Gersh, a professional organizer who specializes in moving services and estate clearing. Donations have also been harder to navigate during the pandemic. A large part of efficiently moving involves getting rid of stuff you don’t need before the move. Though many donation centers, consignment centers, and auction houses have reopened, they have only so much storage space and can be pickier about what they take, she said. “Put it on Nextdoor or Craigslist or give it away for free,” she said. “Or if you know someone who needs it, finds it a new home, so it doesn’t end up in a landfill.”
If you’re planning a DIY move
Social distancing from strangers is less of an issue if you’re moving, but if you’re asking family or friends outside of your household to help, make sure to adhere to the basic guidelines. Maintain six feet of distance and wear masks. Communicate your boundaries and the precautions that will make everyone safe and comfortable, so everyone is on the same page before move day.
If renting, talk to your current and future landlord about any safety guidelines that may affect your move.
Also, although collecting free boxes from stores and via Craigslist may have been a money-saving tip in pre-COVID times, it may be safer to buy new boxes or use ones you already have. Places like U-Haul, Home Depot, and Uboxes.com offer affordable moving containers delivered to your door.
If you’re renting a moving truck
Many moving truck companies are also limiting in-person paperwork and increasing their sanitation procedures. Some have limited business hours and reduced the number of employees working at a time, so be sure to check if the company requires appointments for pickup. Penske has set up designated parking and pickup areas outside their locations. Enterprise offers curbside pickups, and U-Haul gives customers the option of doing the entire rental transaction by phone.
Keep hand sanitizer, soap, and paper towels accessible. Make sure high-touch areas are sanitized and keep fans on or open windows for additional air circulation.
If you’re hiring a moving company or coordinator
Many moving companies are now offering virtual estimates and the ability to do all paperwork online. Aaron Steed of Meathead Movers recommends getting clarification about the safety procedures the company has implemented during the pandemic, including whether anyone has been sick from COVID-19 and what they’ve done about it. The company must offer a free reschedule date, so if you wake up sick, you can move the date without a penalty. If your move date is inflexible, plan for someone to be a representative on site. This way, someone you trust can oversee the move, and no one’s health is at risk.
Aaron empowers his “meathead movers” named after the student-athletes they hire and support as they’re working through college. Aaron urges his team to leave for their safety if someone onsite has undisclosed symptoms and encouraged anyone who sees movers with potential COVID symptoms to ask them to leave.
Preparing your new home
Moving allows you to sanitize surfaces as well as clean and launder everything: including rugs, pillows, sofa cushions. That way, you can fully start afresh.
Studies now show that surface transmission of the coronavirus is less a risk than we thought initially — the virus levels drop dramatically after a few hours.
Disinfecting and killing germs on surfaces can still lower the risk of infection. The CDC’s guide to cleaning and disinfecting recommends cleaning visibly dirty surfaces with soap and water before disinfection and making sure you’re using an EPA-approved disinfectant against COVID-19.